Table 231

Structural Characteristics of a Bacterial Cell

Structure

Function

Capsule

protects the cell and helps the cell attach to other cells and

surfaces

/ Cell wall

protects the cell and gives the cell its shape

/ Cell membrane

regulates the types of molecules that move into and out of the cell

--Cytoplasm

contains DNA, ribosomes, and organic compounds that are needed for life

-Chromosome

carries genetic information from one generation to the next

Plasmid

carries genes that are transferred through genetic recombination; is a small, circular DNA loop

Endospore

contains DNA; is a thick-coated, resistant structure

^Pilus

helps the cell attach to surfaces and other cells during conjugation

Flagellum

propels the cell by rotating in a whiplike motion

^ Outer membrane protects the cell against some antibiotics (present only in Gram-

negative bacteria)

Word Roots and Origins pilus from the Latin pilus, meaning "hair"

Bacterial cells do not have membrane-bound organelles in their cytoplasm. Instead, the cytoplasm is a semifluid solution that contains ribosomes, DNA, small organic and inorganic molecules, and ions, as shown in Table 23-1.

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